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What is a Commercial Toilet?

By Lori Kilchermann
Updated May 17, 2024
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A commercial toilet is used in public restrooms as well as in corporate and manufacturing settings. Typically without a holding tank, a commercial toilet gets water used for flushing from a water pipeline. This pipeline contains a flush valve and enters the rear of the commercial toilet in the location a holding tank usually occupies. The use of the direct water line eliminates the float and check valve in the commercial toilet. This is an important feature that makes the commercial toilet less prone to sabotage and overflowing.

Many commercial toilet systems use a mechanical eye to initiate the flushing action. An infrared eye triggers the flushing mechanism when a body leaves the area directly in front of the toilet. This is a sanitary option in high-use areas where the toilet is used frequently and rarely flushed. By flushing automatically, the toilet does not back-up and is less prone to overflowing with waste materials.

Often when used in public restrooms or in the work place, a special commercial toilet is designated for use by handicapped individuals only. These specially designated toilets not only sit inside extra-wide stalls that allow wheelchair access, the toilets actually sit higher as well. The extra height makes it easier for transitioning from a wheelchair to the toilet and back again.

With no reserve water tank to use a large quantity of water to initiate the flushing action, the commercial toilet is forced to rely on high pressure water to force the waste material down. When the flushing action is initiated, a high-pressure blast of water enters the toilet and causes the waste to rush down and out of the toilet. A lesser amount of water fills the bowl in readiness for the next user. The toilet is programed to operate on a specific amount of water, which is typically less than a tank-type toilet. This saves water and reduces the amount of liquid entering the sewer system.

Bowl-type toilets, or commodes, are not the only type of commercial toilet in use worldwide. Urinals, and in some areas bidets, are found in public restrooms and commercial settings. Urinals operate much like a toilet in that a lever or an electronic eye is used to initiate flushing. Water enters the urinal from a water line attached to the top and rinses the waste liquid into the sewer. While not typically programed to hold a reserve amount of water in the urinal to control odors, a deodorant cake is nearly always placed in the bottom of the device to help eliminate odors.

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